Monday, May 31, 2010

Miscellany Monday

DISCLAIMER: My miscellanies are very random today. Buckle your seat belts and be prepared for some whiplash.

{1} Since posting on Thursday about growth and flourishing in unexpected places, sustenance, and thriving life, I’ve been observing frequent examples of life and growth defying the odds and cropping up in often surprising places. One such example is this beautiful, lone pansy that sprang up between a brick wall and our outdoor patio.

Tenacity. Persistence. GRACE.

{2} I bring home birthday cake when it’s no one’s birthday, just because I love it that much! It’s truly been a lifelong obsession; I spent hours sketching cakes as a preschooler. I drew several models of multi-tiered wedding cakes with fountains of water shooting out of the top layer…and I fully intend to track down a pastry chef and engineer combo team who can bring this dream of mine to fruition for my future wedding day.

But for now, I’m enjoying this little four-inch-in-diameter cake with extra icing for absolutely no occasion whatsoever!! {My thumb in the pic can be used as a scale to see just how tiny the cake is! This mini confection came from the day-old table at work and was roughly handled, hence the frosting boo-boos.}

{3} If you were to ask me today where I bought the shirt I’m wearing, I would answer, “It was left over after the drug bust.

Allow THAT to sink in.

Explanation: A family member of a friend bought a house that had previously been inhabited by a family involved in some debatably dubious activities. These former homeowners had to leave their house in a hurry as their secret operation had been found out, so they left behind many of their belongings. The house was sold with these items, so this family member of a friend gave some clothing and purses to me that had been left behind by the other family! So now I’m wearing the busted gal’s clothes, many of which still had tags when I received them. Strange story, huh?

Hopefully I won’t meet her on the street one day resulting in her demanding her shirt/belt/purse back.

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Midnight Scrawling..

Who is that girl I saw today,
with gray pools under eyes;
a shadow perched upon her brow,
her hair strand a futile disguise?

What weight collapses her slender shoulders?
What burden does she behold?
The contours of her face reveal
her stories, yet untold.

Who is that girl I saw today,
whose lashes suspend a tear?
One blink, it falls, and I realize
that girl lives in the mirror.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Tree Song

I saw a tree by the riverside one day as I walked along.
Straight as an arrow and pointing to the sky growing tall and strong.
"How do you grow so tall and strong?" I said to the riverside tree.
This is the song my tree friend sang to me:

I've got roots growing down to the water,
I've got leaves growing up to the sunshine,
and the fruit that I bear is a sign of the life in me.
I am shade from the hot summer sundown.
I am nest for the birds of the heavens.
I'm becoming what the Lord of trees has meant me to be:
A strong young tree.


I saw a tree in the wintertime, when snow lay on the ground.
Straight as an arrow and pointing to the sky winter winds blew all around.
"How do you stay so tall and strong?" I said to the wintertime tree.
This is the song my tree friend sang to me:

I've got roots growing down to the water,
I've got leaves growing up to the sunshine,
and the fruit that I bear is a sign of the life in me.
I am shade from the hot summer sundown.
I am nest for the birds of the heavens.
I'm becoming what the Lord of trees has meant me to be:
A strong young tree.


I saw a tree in the city streets, where buildings blocked the sun.
Green and lovely I could see it gave joy to everyone.
"How do you grow in the city streets?" I said to the downtown tree.
This is the song my tree friend sang to me:

I've got roots growing down to the water,
I've got leaves growing up to the sunshine,
and the fruit that I bear is a sign of the life in me.
I am shade from the hot summer sundown.
I am nest for the birds of the heavens.
I'm becoming what the Lord of trees has meant me to be:
A strong young tree.

~"Tree Song" by Ken Medema

There is growth and flourishing in areas that we may not expect....

....even in conditions not typically ideal for growth. From weathering the winter storms to practically growing out of concrete, none of these conditions have to be limiting or terminal.
In becoming what the Lord of trees has meant us to be, we are sustained.

And we have Life.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

: : : NO MAKE-UP ZONE : : :

Apparently, going make~up free is the latest celebrity fad for photo shoots and TV hostings. I've noticed a general trend in "back to the basics" thinking, not just in make~up, but in many arenas {for example, in food choices....e.g. organic and free range...and in the "going green" energy movement}. "Don't eat anything that you can't trace directly back to the sun!"

I applaud these efforts to streamline and simplify things that have gotten so complex and bogged~down that they no longer serve their intended purposes. I've observed this cycle of beginning with simple, gradually becoming more complex, and then eventually coming full circle with a re~simplification process. Take music, for instance. The Rococo music period {sandwiched between Baroque and Classical} was marked by refined decoration forms and ornamentation. The following Classical music era was distinguished by a cleaner style, very orderly and more simple, with clearer divisions between parts. In many ways, the Classical period was a response to the "sickeningly sweet", OvEr ThE tOp Rococo era.

Am I digressing? mmmm...I think it's all connected.

One of the main purposes of this no make~up, back to basics, natural beauty emphasis that is so popular as of late is to empower women to feel comfortable and confident as their natural selves.

Wait, wait, waaaaaiiiitttt....stop the clocks. This photo of Kim Kardashian au naturale is supposed to make me feel BETTER about myself?

Some days when I'm in a rush and I skip the make~up, I may say to some friends, "Aaahhh...I didn't have time to put on any make~up this I look horrible?"

After a pause and a puzzled look, said friend(s) will respond, " look exactly the same as always."

So much for putting in a little effort here and there! At first I thought they were just being nice, but I've been told this often enough that I've begun to think that maybe I DO look about the same and it's just more of a security blanket for me. Clearly I don't LOAD IT ON since going au naturale vs. some make~up apparently doesn't make much of a difference, but I still won't be posting a pic of me on here without just a little mascara. I like to make these babies look LONGER THAN LIFE!!!

So, gratefully no one wonders, "I wonder what Leah looks like without make~up?" {Admittedly I do wonder that about some people}.

But, no photo of me in the no make~up zone. I'm not quite that brave. ;-) {winking with my mascara~laden lashes}

Sunday, May 23, 2010


I've been MIA...missing in action. One thing I didn't expect when I began Musings Aloud is that I would feel GUILTY when I don't have time to post. It's not like anyone's day is incomplete without reading one of my FaBuLoUs posts ;-), but I feel badly just the same.

I've been absent, but for good reason. My week consisted of this:

So, if I'm ever MIA again, there's a pretty sizable chance that I've been busy giving time~outs, changing poopy underwear, and wiping snotty noses, taking advantage of teachable moments, testing my own patience, and caring for my precious little ones.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Another Miscellany Monday

{1} I was sleeping in this morning when I received a phone call from work:
"Hi Leah sweetie, can you come in today? One of the teachers is sick and has to go home."
"Oh, why of course!! I'll be right in!"
*Rips self out of bed*
*Does a slap~dash job of getting ready*
Double blah.
*Speed demons it to the northeast side*
Greeted by these cuties: worth it! :-)

{2} In case you didn't know, I'm a Mennonite.

However, this dress and apron are not part of my daily garb. I've been participating in a re~enactment featuring the traditional Mennonite and Brethren people during the Civil War era. School groups come through, and I show them around my kitchen and demonstrate how to make butter in my butter churn.

{3} I had a dream about these verses two nights ago, and since then I've been seeing them everywhere:
"See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these." ~Matt. 6:28-29

Hmm...perhaps I should pay attention, eh?

{4} My celebrity crush that WON'T GO AWAY: James Blake

Okayyy...I know, I know...

{5} My bff Stacy got accepted to grad school in Philly!! Whoop whoop!! I'm so excited that she's going to be closer this year. Harrisburg to Philly is only like 2 hours, so you all can bet your Philly soft pretzels/Tastykakes that I'm going to be making that trek! Congrats, my friend.

Hop over to Carissa's at lowercase letters for more miscellany, and link up to participate in the randomness!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Life on the Fringes

No, not THAT kind of fringe..


The edges. The margins. The spaces in~between. The gray areas.

According to my preschool teachers {or according to what they told my mom}, I preferred to play alongside the other children as a three and four year~old. I wasn’t the bossy ringleader, or part of her inner circle. However, neither was I the backward child who preferred to be completely alone and isolated, the one rejected by her peers. I was somewhere in between…included, even sought out at times; but I preferred to do my own thing just enough that I wasn’t part of the inner circle. And yet, I wasn’t that child “over there”…far away from everyone else.

This continued later in my life. I’m not that girl in the center of the dance floor, basking in the attention of others and in the shine of the strobe lights. Yet, I’m not that girl alone at home wishing she had been invited to the party. Not the life of the party, yet not somewhere across town on a Friday night working on my homework for Monday morning.

This may be why I’ve come to reject categorization so strongly. As soon as I hear someone say to me, “Oh, so you’re a—"

“NOO!! I’M NOT!”

Labels are limiting.

I have yet to find a label that fully encompasses the ToTaLiTy of ME.

There are challenges to being on the fringes. Sometimes there’s a sense of being a chronic outsider because I’m not distinctly categorized. One foot in, one foot out.

For example, I’ve been told that I’m “the perfect combination of religious and chill people.” This has given me the ability to relate to and connect with a vast array of different people; however, I’m also met with criticism from those who fit squarely within categories because I’m not completely “one of them.”

This has also been my experience in the blogosphere. While I’ve only been writing on my blog for a few months, I can already tell that the blogosphere functions very much like the real world. There are distinct blogger groups, and I don’t really fit into any of them.

First, there’s the group of bloggers who are young to mid teens. From what I've seen, they're typically homeschooled. I wasn’t homeschooled. While I have a special place in my heart for young teens, I can’t really relate to them anymore, but I try to be of support and encouragement.

Then, there are those who seem to be about my age but are actually a bit older and in a different stage of life than me. Their lives tend to revolve around being wives to their new husbands and life at home. While I’m not ruling out being married someday or having children {because kids are my WORLD}, I’m not the “hearth and home” kind of gal. And it's a shame that I'm missing out on knowing people for the simple fact that I'm not wearing a wedding dress in my profile picture.

Then there’s the group of homeschooling moms who are older {and when I say older, I mean 30’s or approaching 30 :-)}. I love reading about their families, but I can’t chime in with stories of my own children who don’t yet exist! Additionally, while I have immense respect for these ladies, I don’t see myself being a homeschooling mom when I reach that season of life.

Then there’s the theological and political bloggers. Sometimes I write about similar topics to these bloggers, but yet I also want to share stories about my preschool students. Probably not something they’re interested in reading...

So, where do I fit in? Do I fall somewhere in the margins again? Who wants to read what I have to write? Maybe no one, if people only want to read thoughts written by clones of themselves.

But while I ponder that, I'll be right the gray.

One foot inside the group, one foot poking outward to connect with someone else.

Somewhere in the in~between....

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Linking Up to the Partaayyy

Windy Poplars

1. How do you most like to entertain during the summer (pool party, picnic, cookout, etc.)? - Or if your situation doesn't allow for entertaining right now, what do you look forward to being able to host?

Currently I just enjoy going out for coffee dates with friends or meeting up at the pool during the summer. At this point in my life I don't really host events, but I help my mom when we entertain people at our home {which usually entails making and serving dinner in our sunroom}. Some of my friends host cookouts and I attend, but being a vegetarian, I don't want to put myself in a position where I'd have to grill someone else's meat!!

When I'm older and living on my own, potentially in a city like Philly, I look forward to hosting my segment of our block party.

2. Do you have a favorite summertime dessert?

My favorite dessert is the same year~round, but I don't feel like such an idiot for ordering a cold dessert in the summertime as compared to the winter. My fave, of course, is the Mocha Java Cooler:

I also enjoy getting the Birthday Cake Remix at Coldstone Creamery and eating cold treats from our local, world~famous Kline's Dairy Bar.

3.What is your best outdoor summer date idea?

I've always thought it'd be SO NEAT to have a candlelit dinner on the beach...

or on a rooftop overlooking a city's downtown, cultural center, or coast...

Alfresco rooftop terrace dining with a hot tub included?? I think yes.. ;-)

4. Share any outdoor decorating tips/ideas you have...

I did not inherit my mom or grandpa's passion for gardening, but I've always thought that outdoor fireplaces are so charming, so I'd love to have one of those! Also, I loooove fountains and water gardens. If I live in the city when I'm older, I probably won't be able to have an extensive outdoor space, but a rooftop garden would be awesome! {I didn't realize I had such a rooftop obsession!} :-)

5. What will we find you wearing most in the summertime?

In the summertime, I really enjoy wearing sundresses and cabana dresses. This past winter I got into wearing leggings with my longer tunic shirts and shorter dresses, but with warmer weather coming, I'm excited to pull out my brightly~ and boldly~printed summer dresses.

This is me looking slightly windblown to say the least, but I'm wearing one my favorite summer dresses.

Join the party with Kristin at Windy Poplars!

Monday, May 10, 2010

miscellany monday

I'm joining in with the first Miscellany Monday Meme hosted by Carissa at lowercase letters. Hopefully these musings are sufficiently miscellany!

{1} Terrifically Two and Superbly Spicy: My featured student of the day...

This girl has zero personality. Isn't that apparent?

Actually, she's quite the little spunkster.

She's even capable of completely imploding and losing her mind {fancy speak for a tantrum}! Oh well, I guess that's par for the course with those feisty types. ;-)


{2} Happy Mother's me??

I was wished a Happy Mother's Day for the first time yesterday. I had mentioned something about wishing a Happy Mother's Day to everyone who has ever played the role of Mommy, and the person who I was talking to said, "Well, then a Happy Mother's Day to you, Leah!"
While I haven't borne a baby out of my own body as of yet, have I not tried to model the Spirit of adoption that God demonstrates to us with my little ones {Romans 8:15}? Have I not cried out for them in prayer {Lam. 2:19}? Have they not called me blessed {Prov. 31:28}?


{3} La Leche Hair

I've been using a fun new shampoo recently. It's "fun" because it's called Hair Milk. It's also fun because I'm pretty sure it's made for kids. And it's ALSO fun because I found it in the ethnic hair section. No, I'm not delusional...BUT, my hair is very curly, and the curls can get dry and frizzy at times, so I figured I should try a shampoo made for hair that is even curlier/coarser than mine and dries out at a quicker rate. So far I've enjoyed using it, but then again, I just like trying out new beauty products, period. :-)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Have You Seen Lilivette?

When I was in high school I volunteered in a Mathematics ESL classroom at the local city middle school. I learned this past week that a young girl from one of the classes that I assisted in has been missing since April 1st.

If you've seen Lilivette Perez-Garcia or have any info regarding her whereabouts, contact the Rockingham County Sheriff's Office at (540)-564-3800.
Please pray she'll be found.

Carissa's Giveaway

Since I fared so well in the last giveaway in which I participated {I'll write a post once I receive the hat in the mail!}, I decided to participate in another one. Carissa at lowercase letters is hosting this one and giving away a free clutch by Charm Design. Head over to her site and join the giveaway {or don't. Because I'd love to increase MY chances with lower total numbers ;-)}. I chose this clutch:

Love it! *fingers crossed*

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Break Dancers

THIS is what my 3 year~olds were doing today {starting at about 0:16}:

Yeah, they're pretty amazing. I wish I had brought my camera to record the kids themselves! I taught them everything they know!

Actually, they were clearly imitating something they had seen before, but I can assure you it was not me or my poppin' n lockin' that they were emulating.

I had turned on some music so they could dance as I greased them up with sunscreen before we headed outside for a bit. No sooner had a kid bop~ish song come on than they gathered as this crowd did around individual kids, each taking a turn dancing in the middle. I didn't suggest or instruct this.

The dancer in the middle would flop on the floor, dance with choppy moves, bend down, and stick legs up in the air {trying to do FLIPS like these break dancers}, while the others looked on CHEERING, "Whoaa...yeah...huhoohh...yeah...wwhooo."

Maybe we don't need to have a bake sale, auction, and car wash to raise money for the center after all. How about a dance battle? ;-)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Do I Look Illegal?

¿Le parezco una ilegal?

"Show me your papers."

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Planting Chums :: Four Fun Facts

This week I'm participating in the Planting Chums blog carnival/link~up hosted by Hannah at Aspire.
This is the final week of this series; to participate, you have to come up with four fun facts about yourself. Below are the four facts I generated. My ClAiMs To FaMe {not really}. Ready??...FOURFUNFACTS~~Wooooo...

I baked a layer for a REAL wedding cake when I was in 8th grade.
{not the one pictured}

{2} My uncle's ex-wife plays the Judge Martha Sirkin on Law and Order. She also had a role in the 2008 movie Definitely, Maybe.

{3} The summer of 2005 {when I was 16}, I traveled with a school group in a motor coach covering over 9,000 miles in 27 days. We studied land sustainability issues, immigration, and native people groups...hiked the Grand Canyon, went rafting on the Colorado River, spun above Las Vegas on the Stratosphere, and snorkeled in the Florida Keys. {I don't have many pictures from this trip on my laptop; the one below was taken in Galveston, TX after my group won our "Don't Mess with Texas" American Idol spoof}

{4} I love metallics!!

Give me SPARKLE, give me shine! Be it clothing, jewelry, or make-up, I like the gLiTz, sequins, and "reflective metals". :-)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Saturday Evening Blog Post

I just linked up with The Saturday Evening Blog Post at Elizabeth Esther. According to this blog carnival's originator, The Saturday Evening Blog Post is "where bloggers gather on the first Saturday of each month to share their latest and greatest blog posts." I shared "I See What Your Hair is Saying" from March and "Betrayal" from April. I don't know if these are my best posts, but they are two that required a lot of discernment and reflection on my part. Hop on over to Elizabeth Esther if you'd like to participate!